Yellow duck, Nietzsche, Philosophy

Nietzsche & the free market

Date: Time: 16:00 Location: Blackbox, Esplanade building

What can businesses and business ethicist learn from Friedrich Nietzsche? Philosopher Max van der Heijden will tell you ‘All you need to know about…’ the nihilistic market and the Nietzschean Übermensch as CEO. (English / SG-Certificate*)

Time: 16:00 - 17:00 hrs. 
walk-in: 15:45

Admission free, no registration required, but be in time, limited number of seats available.


Nietzsche is rarely mentioned in business ethics. With good reason you would think: why would one wish to introduce this supposed advocate of nihilism, responsible for the death of traditional morality and proclaimer of an Übermensch who invents its own values, to a field that seeks to address precisely the amoral and nihilistic mindset that permeates the business world? This resistance towards Nietzsche is however based upon a misunderstanding of his philosophical thought which philosopher dr. Max van der Heijden will seek to overcome in his talk. He will do so by asking the following question: what can businesses and business ethicist learn from Nietzsche?

Nihilism and the Übermensch

This question will be answered by exploring two themes in Nietzsche’s thought which can deliver a fruitful contribution to debates in contemporary business ethics: nihilism and the Übermensch. First, by drawing a parallel between the amorality of the market and Nietzsche’s nihilism, Max argues that the problem for Nietzsche is precisely the overcoming of nihilism. As such, his thinking might be fruitful when it comes to the overcoming of the amorality of the market. Second, parting ways with the view of Nietzsche as an advocate of amoralism or immoralism, Max explores the virtues to which the Übermensch should abide by and explore whether or not his virtue ethics encourage professionals to take ownership of their actions, fostering a sense of responsibility and accountability in business dealings.

Business ethics a la Nietzsche

Through this exploration, the talk aims to provide a nuanced understanding of how Nietzsche's philosophy can shed light on the ethical considerations and challenges faced within the contemporary business landscape.


Dr. Max van der Heijden is teacher at the department Philosophy of Tilburg University. He did his PhD on the post-humanist thought of the early Friedrich Nietzsche. His publications include on Nietzsche's ecological ethics, his posthumanism and the question of the role art can play in the Anthropocene. In his recent research, he questions how we deal with different perspectives on the rights and place of different forms of life once they enter into an agonal relationship. In doing so, he tries to move beyond the dominant hierarchical subject-object thinking inherited from the enlightenment.

All You Need to Know About…

This is a lecture in the series ‘All you need to know about…’, introductory lectures on essential topics and inspirational thinkers. After these 60-minute expert presentations, you can confidently engage in a conversation about the topic discussed. Do you have one of your favorite professors in mind to get him/her to talk about one of the essential topics in his/her field of expertise? Please let us know!

More information

The program is organized by Studium Generale.

Contact: Has Klerx (Studium Generale).

* For students, this event may count towards the SG-Certificate. Check the SG-Certificate website for all the terms and conditions. 

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